The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville has been committed to racial justice since its founding. UUCA and its members, through our words and deeds, have shown and acted on this commitment for decades. Yet, as events throughout this year continue to teach us, the injustices of systemic racism and white privilege are more pervasive than many of us may have realized. Unchecked, racial injustices have and will continue to cause deep pain and unconscionable inequalities right here in our own community, as well as in the larger world.
The UUCA Board of Trustees believes, based on our shared Unitarian Universalist principles, that our congregation is now called to respond to racism and white supremacy more directly, more intensely, and more unanimously than we have in the past. Many UUCA congregants have worked tirelessly and effectively for racial justice over many years, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude and respect. But we believe much more is required of our congregation. We believe it is our duty, as people of conscience, to band together as one and join the struggle for the dignity and equality of all. Consequently, the Board is asking all of UUCA to join together in a congregation-wide effort to further the cause of racial justice.
Racial justice is an enormous problem; defining what UUCA can do to most effectively promote it now and in future years will take time and effort to sort out. But given that racial justice is a core UU value of renewed and pressing importance, we must act now. At our October meeting, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution creating the Racial Justice Advisory Council. This Council’s first task will be to understand – in conversation with congregants and staff – UUCA’s racial justice strengths, challenges, and possibilities. Then, the Council will use that understanding to define meaningful and achievable racial justice goals, both near-term and long-term, that involve us all. Those goals will then be presented to the congregation for approval. Consistent with UUCA governance, those goals (if approved) will be integrated into our “Ends Statements” – our formal description of what we want UUCA to do and to be. These Ends Statements also charge our staff to make sure, in collaboration with us all, that we achieve those goals.
At its November 10th meeting, the Board named five UUCA members to this Advisory Council. They are all people with significant racial justice experience, knowledge, and commitment. They will start their efforts soon, and will be speaking with and listening to members and groups within UUCA. So, be on the lookout! And please participate! We sincerely hope you will help us make UUCA a congregation known for its commitment to racial justice and its actions that move us closer to that dream.
The UUCA Board of Trustees
Laurel Amabile (Clerk), Louise Anderson, Michael Beech, Cecil Bennett, Karen Dill, Clyde Hardin (Vice President), Judy Harper, Julie Stoffels, Ryan Williams (President)